Don’t allow too much time to pass before making a concrete plan to not only woo new volunteers but to create your nonprofits brand. This year make a pledge to actively engage potential volunteers while being inclusive of the current ones. This is the perfect time to think about your vision and set goals for the entire team. Actually it is a great time to introduce new ideas and concepts and do away with ideas did not work in the past. Here are five things nonprofits should do before jumping into Q2 of 2014. With nine months left, you have ample time to implement change and allow your nonprofit to operate efficiently for the rest of the year.
1. Identify Volunteers and Partnerships
Think incentives! Think win-win! When thinking of your ideal volunteer or partnership consider sororities, women groups or even nonpartisan political groups that would not only get the world out but hold seminars, block walk or help raise funds. Think in terms of who can help promote your message to the masses and cultivate those relationships. There are plenty of ways to become visible in a matter of months when done correctly by having volunteers and partners work together. This way you are bridging talent and skills to a bigger audience and supporting other along the way.
2. Align Messages
What do you stand for and who do you serve? What three words do people hear when they think of you? For instance, when you see an Amnesty International commercial or sticker you think human rights, fairness and equality. When your audience can positively identify your messaging it makes it easier to build relationships with the media, the community and future donors. Every document, every tweet, every posting should revert back to your message of helping families, feeding the homeless or whatever service you provide. When your messages are aligned clearly it makes it easier to be found online, enhance partnerships and become known for your services.
3. Create a Signature Event
Ever wonder what it takes to pull off a prime time event? It takes time and dedicated staff and volunteers to make it happen. By creating a signature event, you are putting your nonprofit on the minds of givers and potential givers. Also, signature events are a great way to thank supporters in a huge setting while promoting your message. Some people look forward to attending these events and it is fun and creative way to build your list of contributors and supporters.
It does not have to be an over the top, larger than life event, but it does have to strike a cord with the community. Obtaining media coverage should not be hard, as there are reporters that cover gala style events. People write checks at these events so make sure your message is heard and back it up with timely information on how you are making the world and community a better place. No one can sell or tell your story like volunteers, funders and even employees so gather everyone and make your story count. Signature events are the best visuals and the best way to bring everyone on every level to celebrate achievements.
4. Be Transparent
Now more than ever everyone is a whistle blower. People want to know their hard earned dollars are being used appropriately. In addition to creating an annual report, post once a month about how funds are being used, how many are being served and how they can help. Be as clean and upfront as possible with how funds are distributed throughout your nonprofit. In other words, give an account of the who, what when, where and how much. Most people want to give but they want to give to companies that actually help people.
Think about how you would feel if only $2 of the $40 dollars you donated went to the people that needed it. Once a reputation is questioned it is hard to get back on track and regain trust. Start off the year with showing them the money!
5. Be Mobile-Friendly
The world is a fast paced give me my phone society and companies must keep up with it. Can people donate online? Can they access anything they need to find you? If not, now is the time to make those changes all in the name of creating better revenue and being current. Did you know more people used their cell phones to make purchases during the holidays last year? Your nonprofit should not be the exception. Going mobile is simply visual storytelling at it’s finest and allows you to put your nonprofit in visual action.
This is the perfect time and way to go after savvy, community minded supporters in their own arena. No need to stress over how to become mobile friendly, connect with volunteers or companies that offer the service so you wont mess any potential support. It is a common theme that if people can’t find your information quickly they won’t come back to your site. Go mobile now!
If you are truly ready to “juice” up your image you must consider how you can be proactive, get others involved and showcase what you do best. The goal is to create a viable voice and allow others to advocate on your behalf.
- The Chronicle of Philanthropy | What Nonprofits Should Start Doing in 2014: Advice From the Experts
- Nonprofit About.com | Getting Started with Social Media: Where Do Nonprofits Begin?
- Idealist.org | Things a U.S.-based nonprofit must (and must not) do
- Do More Good | Seven things nonprofits should know from market research